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Instant Access to State, County and Municipal Public Records

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Are Massachusetts Vital Records Open to the Public?

Most vital records in Massachusetts are considered open records and can be requested by interested members of the public. However, some of these records may contain information that is considered confidential and limited by the state.

 

What Do I Need to Search for Massachusetts Vital Records Online?

When searching for Massachusetts vital records online, interested parties are typically required to provide as much information about the record as possible. This is necessary to help facilitate the speedy location of these records. Generally, the information required includes:

  • Name(s) of the registrant(s) on the record
  • The date the event occurred
  • The name of the town, city, or county where the vital event occurred
  • Reason for the request
  • Contact details of the requestor

How Do I Obtain Massachusetts Vital Records?

Interested parties who wish to obtain copies of vital records may be required to provide information such as the name of the registrant on the record as well as the date and location of the vital event. Requesters may also be required to provide adequate proof of identity, usually in the form of a government-issued photo ID. In addition to this, requestors may be expected to provide documentation stating their relationship to the registrant named on the record.

Publicly available vital records are also managed and disseminated by some third-party aggregate sites. These sites are generally not limited by geographical record availability and may serve as a reliable jump-off point when researching specific or multiple records. However, third-party sites are not government-sponsored. As such, record availability may differ from official channels. To find a record using the search engines on third party sites, the requesting party will be required to provide:

  • The location of the record in question including the city, county, or state where the case was filed.
  • The name of someone involved providing it is not a juvenile

 

What’s the Difference Between a Certified Record and Informational Copy?

The major difference between both types of vital records is in their use. Informational copies of records are not legal documents and so may not be used for official purposes. On the other hand, certified copies of vital records are official, legal documents. Furthermore, certified copies of vital records are typically printed on a secure watermarked paper embossed with the official raised state seal signed by the state registrar. Conversely, informational copies of vital records are usually printed on plain paper without any official marker.

Are Massachusetts Marriage Records Public Information?

Marriage records in Massachusetts are generally open to the public. However, access to marriage records of parties born to unwed parents is usually restricted to the registrant’s parents or spouse. Likewise, if a legal representative or guardian can provide adequate documentation to prove authorization, the record custodian will provide access to the vital record.

How Do I Obtain Marriage Records in Massachusetts?

Interested parties who wish to obtain public marriage records in Massachusetts may use third-party websites. Besides this, certified marriage records may also be obtained in person or via mail from the Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics. Parties who wish to obtain these records via mail are required to send a completed vital records request form to:

Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
150 Mt. Vernon Street, 1st Floor
Dorchester, MA 02125

Mail-in requests typically take an average of 30 days to process and cost $32 per copy requested. Walk-in requests may be processed the same day and typically cost $20 per copy of the record requested.

Are Massachusetts Divorce Records Public Information?

Most Massachusetts divorce records are open to the public unless sealed by court order. Generally, the presiding judge will order the sequestration of divorce records from public access if the documents contain sensitive information, such as information describing child molestation or domestic abuse. Sealed divorce records may only be accessed through a court order authorizing the unsealing of the documents in question.

How Do I Find Divorce Records in Massachusetts?

Interested parties who wish to obtain divorce records must contact the probate and family court where the divorce case was heard. Requestors will be required to complete a request form, which the requester must submit in person or via mail to the clerk’s office at the court where the divorce case was heard. Interested parties who wish to obtain these records but do not have the name of the court where the divorce was granted or the case docket number may submit an application for divorce inquiry through the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics.

Are Massachusetts Birth Records Public Information?

Yes. Massachusetts birth records are public records and may be accessed by interested members of the public. However, records of parties born to unwed parents are usually restricted. In such cases, only the registrant, the registrant’s parents, a legal guardian, or an attorney, may order a birth certificate. These requesters must provide proper documentation supporting their relationship with the registrant.

How Do I Obtain Massachusetts Birth Records?

Besides online searches for birth records via available third-party websites, interested parties can also order birth certificates by completing and submitting a request form via mail to: 

Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
150 Mt. Vernon Street, 1st Floor
Dorchester, MA 02125

The same instructions apply when requesting a birth certificate replacement. Each copy of the birth certificate costs $32.00, payable by check or money order only, and the requester must attach a government-issued photo ID. All mail requests must go to the record custodian in a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Are Massachusetts Death Records Open to the Public?

Yes. Death records in Massachusetts are public records and may be requested by any interested member of the public.

How Do I Find Death Records in Massachusetts?

Interested parties may perform a death record search by name on trusted third-party websites. Alternatively, the requester may order the death certificate in person at the clerk’s office in the county, city, or town where the death occurred or perform a death certificate search on the state archives. Parties may also obtain public death records from the state’s vital records office by completing a vital records request form and sending it via mail to: 

Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
150 Mt. Vernon St., 1st Floor
Dorchester, MA 02125

How Do I Obtain Sealed Vital Records in Massachusetts?

Sealed records in the state of Massachusetts are not available to the public. Access to these records is restricted to only authorized parties. To obtain copies of sealed vital records such as pre-adoption birth records, interested parties must complete an application for a non-certified record and submit the completed application in person or via mail to:

Registry of Vital Records and Statistics
150 Mt. Vernon Street, 1st Floor
Dorchester, MA 02125

Requestors are advised to ensure that the application form is properly filled, as incorrect information invalidates the request.

Massachusetts State Archives

State Archives

Search Includes

  • Arrests & Warrants
  • Criminal Records
  • Driving Violations
  • Inmate Records
  • Felonies & Misdemeanors
  • Bankruptcies
  • Tax & Property Liens
  • Civil Judgements
  • Marriages & Divorces
  • Death Records
  • Birth Records
  • Property Records
  • Asset Records
  • Business Ownership
  • Professional Licenses
  • Unclaimed State Funds
  • Relatives & Associates
  • Address Registrations
  • Affiliated Phone Numbers
  • Affiliated Email Addresses

Results are based upon available information from state, county and municipal databases, and may not include some or all of the above details.

Massachusetts

Built in 1821, the old Plymouth County Courthouse used to house civic and judicial government officials in Plymouth County.

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